World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (formerly Gateway International Raceway and Gateway Motorsports Park) is a motorsport race track in Madison, Illinois, just east of St. Louis, Missouri, United States, close to the Gateway Arch. It features a 1.25-mile oval used by the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and IndyCar Series, a 1.6-mile infield road course used by SCCA, Porsche Club of America and various car clubs, and quarter-mile drag strip that hosts an annual National Hot Rod Association event.
The first major event held at the facility was a CART series held on Saturday May 24, 1997, the day before the Indy Racing League’s Indianapolis 500. Rather than scheduling a race directly opposite the Indy 500 (as they had done in 1996 with the U.S. 500), CART scheduled Gateway the day before to serve as their Memorial Day weekend open-wheel alternative without direct conflict. After a couple years, track management grew increasingly dissatisfied with its apparent use, as seen by some, as a political pawn or statement by CART. This event had poor attendance as fans generally chose to travel to the Indy 500 for the weekend instead. For 2000, the race was moved to the fall. In 2001, it was dropped from the CART series schedule, and switched alliances to the Indy Racing League. After mediocre attendance, the event was dropped altogether after 2003. It was later re-added to the schedule for 2017.
The facilities were owned by Dover Motorsports, a group that also owned what is now Memphis International Raceway, along with Dover International Speedway, and the Nashville Superspeedway. After being shuttered on November 3, 2010, it was announced on September 8, 2011 that the facility would be re-opened by St. Louis real estate developer and former professional racer (IndyCar Indy Lights) Curtis Francois.
St. Louis International Raceway Park was built in 1967 as a drag racing facility, and in 1985 a road course was constructed, featuring 2.2 miles and 1.0 mi configurations. In 1994, Chris Pook, promoter of the Grand Prix of Long Beach, acquired the facility, demolishing the existing tracks over the course of 1995–1996 for the construction of a new oval speedway.
Gateway’s drag strip during the 2016 NHRA Midwest Nationals.
The 1.25-mile oval is a favorite of many of the drivers who race there due to the unique shape and different degrees of banking in each corner. Turns 1 & 2 have characteristics similar to New Hampshire Motor Speedway while Turns 3 & 4 are similar to Phoenix International Raceway and the track’s egg shape mimics the legendary Darlington Raceway. Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams test at Gateway in preparation for these events.
Looking down the drag strip towards the finish line during the NHRA Midwest Nationals.
There is also a 1.6-mile infield road course used by sports car clubs and motorcycle organizations through the warmer months. This road course hosted a round of the AMA Superbike Championship in 1995. Canadian Miguel Duhamel won the superbike class in blistering hot conditions.
Gateway’s circle track tower during the 2014 NASCAR Truck Series race.
In early-January 2008, it was announced that the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers would move their sponsorship from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race, and was called the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250. At the 2008 event, Carl Edwards became the fourth driver to win two NASCAR Nationwide Series events at Gateway.
2008 was a big year for the NHRA at Gateway, as legendary 14-time Funny Car champion John Force earned his 1,000th career win overtaking Ron Capps. Making the event doubly special was that it take place on his 59th birthday only one week after losing to his daughter Ashley Force in the finals at Atlanta for her first career win in the Funny Car series. Another was that Rod Fuller beat his arch rival Tony Schumacher in the finals, which became a big win for him as it represented one of the very few times Schumacher would be beat in an historic season for The Sarge, who won 15 races with seven of them consecutively with 31 round wins in a row, en route to his fifth consecutive Top Fuel title and his sixth overall.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway was sponsored by Camping World, becoming the Camping World 200. Coincidentally, the race was won by defending Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. driving the No. 33 Camping World-sponsored truck for Kevin Harvick Inc..
In 2010, Gateway received a second Nationwide Series race due to the closure of Memphis Motorsports Park. The date was the former late fall event at Memphis. This was the last NASCAR event held at Gateway until 2014, as Dover Motorsports announced it will not seek sanctioning for the three events held there in 2010. The track did not make an announcement concerning any of the other events the track holds. The former Nashville Superspeedway got Gateway’s place on the schedule in July, while the race date for October would still be vacant. The NHRA did not schedule any races at Gateway for 2011 either.
On November 3, 2010, Dover Motorsports announced that Gateway was officially closing and ceasing all racing operations there. On September 8, 2011, it was officially announced that Gateway would re-open in 2012 and host the 15th AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals from September 28–30, under the leadership of Curtis Francois. On December 6, 2012, USAC announced that the track would have a USAC Traxxas Silver Crown Series date in 2013 on June 1.
In February 2013, Francois announced the addition of Chris Blair as Executive Vice President and General Manager. In addition, plans were announced for the addition of a world class karting facility (which opened as the Gateway Kartplex in June 2014), an off-road venue (which opened in May 2015 with a TORC Series event) and a revitalization plan for the track’s road course.
On October 25, 2013, it was announced that the Camping World Truck Series would be returning to Gateway on June 14, 2014 for the first time since 2010.
In October 2016 it was announced that the Verizon IndyCar Series was returning to Gateway on August 26, 2017 for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. After IndyCar Series teams experienced issues with the surface during a May 2, 2017 open test at the oval outside St. Louis, track officials undertook a multimillion-dollar renovation of the racing surface. The repaving project began June 19 and was completed in late July 2017.
On April 17, 2019, World Wide Technology announced it had acquired naming rights for the track, renaming it to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.
Track length of paved oval
The track length is disputed by the major series that run at Gateway Motorsports Park. The NASCAR timing and scoring use a length of 1.25 miles. This length was used by IRL in their races between 2001 and 2003, too. The CART measured for the inaugural race in 1997 a length of 1.27 miles. This length was also used in the following races between 1998 and 2000.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!